Richarlison scored a stoppage-time goal against Leicester to earn Everton a precious point in their bid to stave off relegation.
Frank Lampard’s side were staring defeat in the face and the prospect of slipping into the Premier League’s bottom three should Burnley beat Southampton on Thursday.
But after a nightmare start to the game when James Maddison’s cross was turned in by Harvey Barnes, they turned the game in their favour in the second half with substitutes Dele Alli and Salomon Rondon playing a key role.
After Richarlison wasted several good chances, it looked as if Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers would earn his first win at Goodison Park.
But the Brazilian turned in a scuffed shot after 92 minutes, after good work by Alli and Rondon, to send the home supporters wild in delight for a point that was richly deserved for the team’s improvement if not for their quality.
His eighth goal of the season did not look like it was coming but when it did, it was one that could prove vital given that Everton face Liverpool and Chelsea in their next two games.
The point lifted the hosts four points clear of Burnley with seven games of the season remaining.
For Leicester, who were content to sit on their one-goal advantage rather than search keenly for a second, it was a wasted opportunity with Maddison also squandering three good chances as Everton gambled for an equaliser.
The Foxes have already reached a Europa Conference League semi-final this season, but they now sit 11 points behind seventh-placed West Ham, who have played two more games.
A draw that felt like a win
Everton could not turn successive home victories into a third, but after a poor first half, this will feel as good as a win.
Without Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who suffered a training-ground injury that could keep him out for two weeks, their front three of Richarlison, Demarai Gray and Anthony Gordon struggled to link together.
Gordon’s passing and set-piece delivery was particularly woeful, but once Rondon came on to provide a focal point to the attack, and Alli offered some assistance to the impressive Alex Iwobi, the game began to turn Everton’s way.
The early goal and dominance by Leicester led to a subdued atmosphere in the first half where despite Richarlison’s miscued shot, the home fans were not lifted off their seats until just before the break when Gray fired inches wide from a clever corner.
Leicester had already gone close when Seamus Coleman tackled Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall before the Foxes took the lead.
With Rodgers making seven changes to the side that lost at Newcastle on Sunday, the visitors were able to cut through the Everton defence easily. Dewsbury-Hall and Maddison both caused problems for the Everton defence, who had Yerry Mina back for the first time since February following a hamstring injury.
By contrast, Fabian Delph and Allan were ponderous in midfield with only Iwobi providing the thrust that Everton and their fans craved. But that soon changed in the second half as Alli came on to replace Allan.
Unfortunately for the hosts, Gordon’s passing was still off, and Richarlison, who had scored only three goals since the turn of the year, wasted another good chance after good work by Rondon and a free header from a corner.
As Everton pressed for an equaliser, gaps opened up for Leicester to exploit and Maddison went close three times.
That ultimately proved costly as Richarlison and his team’s persistence earned a crucial point to keep Lampard’s side on the right side of the drop zone, regardless of Thursday’s results.